It doesn't seem possible but its twenty-five years ago today that the great Billy Fury passed away. I come from a family of Billy lovers with my mum being a fan since the heyday and no doubt helping turn myself and my sister into fans. My mum was working in a shop window in the early 60's when Billy walked by, causing her to knock half the stuff over. To top it all, my wife is a fan as well. Whereas she frowns a bit when I play a Don Williams or some other country shit (her words not mine), its always okay to play The Sound of Fury. When I first got into rock 'n' roll my earliest heroes were Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Fury and although others became special to me over the years, Johnny Cash for instance, those original five will always be the top dogs. As I'm writing this Julie has just said that whenever she thinks about our music she always thinks Elvis, Gene and Eddie, Billy and the Stray Cats because that's what we always listened to as teenagers together.
Something that still stick in my mind long after it should have vanished is when the May Fair came to my hometown Presteigne when I was a school kid and one of the prizes at the darts stall was a postcard of Billy in his leopard skin shirt. I tried as hard as I could to get that picture but the darts were blunt and the board was rock hard - proved by the fact that the postcard was still there when the fair came back the following year. The first answer phone we ever had used to play Billy's Phone Call which was always nice to listen to before speaking to some double glazing quote.
Whereas the past 25 years have seen the star of Elvis burning as bright as ever, sadly the name of Billy Fury has all but died here in his homeland. Apart from my beautiful and sadly missed pussy, Billy Furry, I don't think I've heard the name mentioned in years. I know there's a couple of tribute acts doing the rounds, with Colin Gold being very good. As I mentioned in my review of the recent Rockers Reunion, the young Liverpool Teddy Boy band Furious played a couple of his songs, so perhaps there's hope for a revival. Let's face it, he was a million miles better than most things Britain produced and at least a couple of miles better than the far more successful Cliff Richard. The old Bachelor Boy might have done a mean lip curl but for the all around package Billy was the man. He has stage presence and his performances were raunchy in a way Cliff just couldn't carry off. Billy was a good looking dude who you could imagine would carry through the dirty deed whereas Cliff might look okay but if you took him home he'd probably help your mum knit a cardigan. I've asked the three girls in my life to give me their top 10 and here they are.
Julie's (wife) Top 10 - no order except for the first one
Gonna Type A Letter, Halfway to Paradise, You Don't Know, Maybe Tomorrow, I Will, In Thoughts of You, In Summer, A Thousand Stars, Last Night Was Made For Love, Like I've Never Been Gone
Pat's (mum) Top 10 - no order
Last Night Was Made For Love, Like I've Never Been Gone, Halfway to Paradise, A Thousand Stars, I'll Never Find Another You, In Thoughts of You, Wondrous Place, Once Upon A Dream, Somebody Else's Girl, It's Only Make Believe
Sharon's (sister) Top Ten - in order
Wondrous Place, In Thoughts of You, My Advice, Don't Leave Me This Way, Maybe Tomorrow, Jealousy, Alright, Goodbye, I'll Never Find Another You, Don't Say It's Over, You Don't Know
My Top 10 - in order
Don't Knock Upon My Door, Wondrous Place, Don't Jump, Margo, I'm Lost Without You, That's Love, Baby How I Cried, Maybe Tomorrow, Turn My Back On You, I'm Lost Without You